The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center and Michael Bush jointly announced today that, after eight years, Mr. Bush is moving on from his position as the artistic director of the O'Neill's Cabaret & Performance Conference due to increased professional obligations directing in New York and regionally. These obligations include the further development of the new musicals STORMY WEATHER, THE PIPER, and his recently acclaimed NYMF production of HIMSELF AND NORA. He will also be a founding partner in a new company, Tritone Productions, which is dedicated to the development of new work.
Mr. Bush reinvigorated and reinvented the Cabaret & Performance Conference at the O'Neill in 2005, after it had been dark for three years. Under his leadership, the Conference grew in stature and programming, and was responsible for major development of [title of show] (2005) and The Story of My Life (2006), both of which subsequently played Broadway. Other major artists supported under his tenure include Penny Fuller, Barry Kleinbort, Joel Silberman, Leslie Uggams, Amanda McBroom, Lilias White, Marilyn Maye, and Jonathan Brielle. The Conference plays for 10 days each August, and in his 8 years of leadership, Mr. Bush has presented over 100 evenings to acclaim and expanding audiences. Over 300 artists were supported during his tenure at the Conference, growing and training the pool of talent for the world of cabaret.
Michael Bush was also part of the leadership team of the O'Neill when the Center was awarded the 2010 Regional Theatre Tony Award at Radio City Music Hall.
"Eight years by any standard is a long run and I am grateful for every minute of it", says Bush. "But the time has come for me to move on and fully concentrate on my career as a director. Happily, several of my recent directing projects are taking flight and I need to be fully available to bring them to full fruition. I would like to thank all of the amazingly talented artists who participated in these conferences over the years and to let them know that they will always have a special place in my heart. I look forward to working with them again in the future."
O'Neill Executive Director Preston Whiteway added, "Michael Created and sustained the new Cabaret & Performance Conference with his excellent vision for the program, and I will be forever grateful. Under his leadership, the Conference grew to new heights and delighted audiences. His dedication to the art form, the artists and Conference will be missed at the O'Neill, and I wish him well in his future endeavors."
Michael Bush most recently directed the NYMF production of Himself and Nora, the Off Broadway productions of Psycho Therapy, Cactus Flower, Based on A Totally True Story, and Leslie Uggam's Uptown Downtown at the Pasadena Playhouse which won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for best solo performance. He won the 2009 New York Musical Theatre Festival Award for Excellence in Direction for the world premiere musical Hurricane.
He is the former director of artistic production and associate artistic director for the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City. He was associated with MTC for over 25 years and helped artistically guide more than 150 new plays and musicals, including the Tony®Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning Proof, and Doubt, and the Tony® Award-winning Love! Valour! Compassion! and the musicals A Class Act (Tony Nomination for Best Musical) and Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party. At MTC he most recently directed Based on A Totally True Story. He was instrumental in the rebirth of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's Cabaret & Performance Conference, and has served as its artistic director since 2005. Under his guidance the Conference has developed over 75 new shows, revues, and intimate musicals including [title of show] and The Story of My Life, both of which were produced on Broadway, and Now. Here. This. produced by the Vineyard Theatre in New York City this past spring.
Mr. Bush directed Stormy Weather for the Pasadena Playhouse and the Prince Music Theatre, and Murderers for Philadelphia Theatre Company and City Theatre in Pittsburgh. He also directed the world premiere of The Story of My Life at Toronto's CanStage. Mr. Bush has directed seven New York Musical Theater Festival (NYMF) productions of The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde (2005), and Grammy Award-winning songwriter Marcus Hummon's musicals Warrior (2006), and The Piper (2007). For the 2008 NYMF Festival he directed the Richard Rodgers Award winner musical To Paint the Earth. During his tenure as producing artistic director at Charlotte Repertory Theatre in Charlotte NC (2002-2004) he presented Hilary Swank in The Miracle Worker, Penny Fuller in The Glass Menagerie, and directed the 20th Anniversary production of Pump Boys and Dinettes. He also directed and co-wrote the book for the musical Let Me Sing which was co-produced with George Street Playhouse in New Jersey and Charlotte Repertory Theatre. He is currently the artistic director of Leap OnStage in New York City; an education program that teaches playwriting to high school and middle school students.